Monday, June 27, 2011

Just The Beginning...

A huge Thank You is the only way to begin.

That's what this is: Just a beginning. The first of many and so much.

Being a part of the third annual Roche Social Media Summit is an incredible honor. A humbling experience and an empowering opportunity to be a part of something so much bigger than one person or even such a small group. More than three dozen D-bloggers and online "story-tellers" came together to talk about the power of social media use in the diabetes community. The event at June 22-24 was at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego, right across from the Convention Center where the 71st annual American Diabetes Association's Scientific Sessions kicked off at week's end.

Thank you, Roche, for all of this.

For building bridges. Nurturing relationships. Listening to us. Keeping it real. Strengthening and caring about our community, not just about your products and bottom-line. For being honest. Not to mention cool, dynamic, engaging, and thought-provoking. Overall, for doing what you do. And yes, for picking up the tab.

(Roche paid for airfare, hotel, and most costs of the summit, but didn't ask anyone to write or blog about it. Yet, they expect nothing less and know we'll provide an honest recap regardless of their generosity.)

This year's summit was pretty spectacular, again. The agenda was action-packed:

The International Diabetes Federation's representatives who got an earful about why it's a two-way street in communicating about their message. They need us to help spread word, but we want to work with them more closely than just getting a random press release that doesn't resonate like it might if there was a foundational relationship to start from. IDF President Jean Claude Mbanya joined us at dinner for a passionate discussion about how we can have a global reach, encouraging us to help spread word about a critical message the world needs to know about. It was a passionate plea that hit the heart and made the blood boil, and a more in-depth review of that message will be coming soon enough.

Then there was JDRF CEO Jeffrey Brewer, who echoed what he'd said with the blogger roundtable back at Government Day in March. He echoed the excitement about the organization's evolution to embrace treatment and research on the road to a cure, reaching more adults and becoming more inclusive in their mission.

On Friday morning, Dr. Polonsky with the Behavioral Diabetes Institute led a great discussion about the emotional-psychological-behavioral aspects of Living With Diabetes. Some of those highlights included taking a safe "vacation" from diabetes allowing us to conquer the guilt and depression so often a part of our D-Lives. That was a very personal and eye-opening discussion for me, and I'm process some of that.

We also had great presentations and discussions about emerging trends in social media and how those are used (or can be) in the D-Community and our own advocacy work. Existing gaps, where we can go next, reaching out off-line, and bringing more healthcare providers into the discussion to better help patients.

At one point Thursday as we were talking about Emerging Trends in Social Media, Roche's social media guru Rob Muller made a statement that really resonated. He mentioned that this is just the beginning of us all understanding how powerful social media can be in connecting and making a difference. That is so true, and the summit is just one small example illustrating that.

I was honored to again be a part of it, and am looking forward to decompressing all the awesomeness swimming around in my head in order to share it. Lots to come. But gratefulness is the best place to start.

There was even a guitar in there in the hours before karaoke, making this so totally #BluntLancet - worthy summit!

7 comments:

Leighann said...

I am so glad I had the opportunity to see you IRL again!

Bea said...

Mike, you write so well. It was wonderful to see you and I'm glad you're not too far so we can meet again soon!

Rob said...

It was an awesome, humbling and inspiring time. It's an honor to be a part of it.

Ronnie Gregory said...

You are right mike, Humbling it was, it left me thinking we can do so much more in this fight against diabetes, so much more...

Supplements said...

It's a good event to discuss diabetes in another perspective.

busymom said...

Wow-it sounds amazing! : ) And your group looks like fun!

Gretchen said...

Nice to see you again, Michael. Keep writing!